Monday, 2 March 2009

The nitty gritty of the home ed day

We all have different ways of home educating, so right now, up front, I'll say strike me dead if, in describing our home ed ways, I should speak for anyone else.

If you are not in the home ed world I can tell you that it would be a foolish and dangerous thing to imply I speak for other people. I would be hacked to pieces with machetes.

Now enough said there, otherwise I will get myself into hot water. This is how I do home ed with Squirrel, Shark and Tiger.

I plan. Here is a plan.

It is on the back of an envelope and suits me fine. You might just read that I have subject areas, like maths and languages and science. That public declaration alone is a hostage to fortune. There are some very strong opinions and articulate people out there. They scare me half to death. Just try not to stab me.

When Shark, Squirrel and Tiger were little I used not to bother with subject areas, and probably said I never will. But times change. The children change. I change.

Now at the moment, in the ordinary running of the day, we probably still do not bother much about subject areas. But I keep them in mind. We have 'subject' days, which are better for us anyhow. Like Art Mondays, Languages Tuesdays, Maths Wednesdays, History Thursdays, Science Fridays, things we haven't done Saturdays and Sundays. We don't bother much with those either. But they help me in my brain cohere what we've done, and kick me up the backside to plan ahead.

And then, once in a while, I think are the kids doing any maths? Are they doing any science? Are they doing anything? And because I'm not quite trusting that banging rocks together to make gravel in the garden might be sufficient maths, albeit very good materials science, I spend an hour or so jotting down ideas: for visits, workshops, lectures, to cover the 'missing' areas. If I feel there is a great big yawning gap, say, fractions, I'll find some books and start wittering on about four fifths. Some of this I will do to an empty room, but the five minutes I spend shouting three quarters and seven eighths pleases me, and makes me feel better. I like to think some of it sinks in. Even quicker if accompanied by cake.

I find this process quite handy, because I worry how many times can I wrestle maths from a shopping trip, cookery session, or gravel banging expedition? There is a limit to how interesting those are.

This process isn't autonomous home education, and it's not structured either. We don't use any curriculum or workbook. But sometimes I consciously set out to 'teach'. I'm not sure what the deal is, except that it satisfies me, makes me feel like an achieving home educator, and I hope both provides an environment where the little grits can run around and play and also sit down and do an activity that has a point, and a focus, and a goal, like working out how many four fifths they have to divide six cakes into, so each unicorn gets two thirds of the icing.

This plan will be around until the beginning of April, when I'll do this exercise again. And it doesn't matter if it doesn't work. Sometime in the future, I won't be surprised if I feel I need to dump the plan entirely, and change what we're doing completely.

And I hope that didn't speak on behalf of anyone, but me. And I hope it was helpful.


Jan said...

I'm always fascinated by how other people home-educate, so thank you for posting this. Maybe I'll feel brave enough to post something similar.

sharon said...

Sounds like a very cunning plan to me ;-)

Jonny's Mommy said...

I look at those who home school with envy and all out stress. I wish I could do it, but know I am unorganized and unprepared and just not knowledgeable enough. I commend you for even trying!

Ruth said...

That's a whole envelope more plan than I've got :-) We're very much in the making it up as we go along mode with piano practice as the one and only constant.

these boots said...

I like your plan.

I love how we home edders can just kind of change things if we feel they're not working. At the moment we don't have a plan. But we might in the future :-)

Grit said...

hi folks! i know that autonomous presses all the right educational theory buttons. i just haven't got enough bite-proof knuckles.

mamacrow said...

loved this. I'd discribe us as semit structed too.

I could never do the complete curriculum comitment thing, it would drive me spare. Fully autonimous (eek scuse spelling) is not for us at the mo either, so we meet somewhere inthe middle.